Governor signs Phillips-Hill’s health care worker safety bill into law

HARRISBURG – Governor Wolf signed legislation sponsored by Senator Kristin Phillips-Hill (R-York) into law today to better protect healthcare professionals in the workplace.

Phillips-Hill authored Senate Bill 842, now Act 54 of 2020, that will allow health systems to omit the last name of employees from workplace photo identification badges worn by medical professionals.

“Workplace violence is four times more likely to occur in a healthcare setting than in most other industries,” Phillips-Hill said. “In the era of social media, the last name of an employee can provide a malicious individual with information needed to stalk, harass and threaten medical professionals. This new law will provide for added protections for the individuals who work to keep our communities healthy.”

Representative Keith Gillespie (R-York), who sponsored the House version of the legislation, said the law is a major win for healthcare professionals across the state.

“As the author of the House companion bill to accomplish the same goal, I am thrilled to see Senate Bill 842 signed into law. Though well-meaning, this information has enabled patients to stalk, threaten and otherwise harass health care workers both inside and outside the workplace. During my 34 years as a first responder and hospital administrator I was involved in physical confrontations on an almost daily basis. I’ve been gone from the health care arena for a number of years, and I’ve been told things have gotten much worse than they were during my tenure,” said Gillespie. “We need to protect these providers who are on the front lines so that they can continue to practice their life-saving skills with peace of mind. As a former health care professional, I thank my colleagues for advancing this incredibly important legislation.”

Roxanna Gapstur, Ph.D., R.N., WellSpan President and CEO, said the added safeguards are much-needed to further protect employees.

“WellSpan Health is very grateful for Senator Phillips-Hill’s leadership in getting Senate Bill 842 signed into law,” Gapstur said. “Sixty percent of workplace assaults occur in healthcare settings, while healthcare workers comprise only 13 percent of the U.S. workforce. This legislation will protect our healthcare heroes from violence and harassment and will make them more secure in the workplace. I’d also like to thank Representative Gillespie for his work on this issue and to Governor Tom Wolf for signing it into law. WellSpan looks forward to working with our elected leaders on our common goal of making our community a healthier and safer place to live and work.”

The law will take effect in 60 days.

You can listen to Senator Phillips-Hill’s comments on the legislation here.